10, 000 Years Ago in North America

Na-Dene people occupy much of northwest and central North America. These were the earliest ancestors of the Athabascan- speaking peoples, including the Navajo and Apache.

All five species of native horse become extinct in the Americas (horse reintroduced by Spanish around 1500 AD). But horses which had crossed to Asia via the Bering land bridge survive.

The Derbent site in Nova Scotia, from about 10,000 BC, is a village with large multi-family dwellings. It was used “seasonally”, which meant people did not live there year round, but might live there for the summer to hunt and fish to gather food supplies for the winter.

A very rare look at a face from the past. Using a mixture of artistic skill and scientific theory, the face of this ancient American woman who died more than 10,000 years ago has been reconstructed. Based on the skeletal remains, the woman was 28 years old when she died. Her features show some similarity with modern Mongolian people, but also show some differences. This supports the theory that both the native Americans and the modern inhabitants of central-east Asia had the same ancient ancestors. The woman’s remains were found at an archaeological site near Austin, Texas. Her’s was the second burial found at the ancient settlement.

In south-central North America, the earliest known people are called the Desert Archaic Culture by archaeologists, with sites dating back between 11,000 and 12,000 years. These were nomadic hunter-gatherers, who developed basketry, and used tools made of stone, wood and bone. The area, now a dry desert, was then cooler and more humid. People lived in extended family groups, hunting small animals and collecting wild grains and roots, moving as necessary when food supplies became scarce in an area due to the changes in the season. Finds from this culture include small, unfired clay sculptures of human figures.